T H E S I S # 55

This is a volatile thesis and should stimulate a reaction – surprise, disbelief, annoyance…. something!

 

Like all theses, # 55 should be thoroughly considered and challenged. Is it really possible the appointed shepherd of an evangelical church would be released from duty by ecclesiastical lords if he made a commitment to the Bible?

 

And if so, what does that say about evangelicalism?

 

Let’s use our imagination. Pastor Whoever of Whatever Evangelical Assembly has a very unusual announcement for his congregation this sunday morning….

 

Good morning, everyone!

 

A few days ago I recommitted my life to the Lord Jesus Christ. I have had need to do this occasionally over the years of my christianity because my tendency has been to slowly drift from Him. However, this recommitment to the Lord was different than all others; this time I also committed myself to the Bible.

 

You may be surprised to know I had never previously yielded fully to the Bible. Perhaps I sensed to do so might complicate life for me and my family. I realize now it is impossible to be fully committed to Jesus Christ without being equally committed to The Word.

 

To symbolize to Lord Jesus my loyalty to the Bible, I signed the last page, right under Revelation 22:21. I vowed to our Lord I will obey His words as the most Holy Spirit enlightens me. Almost immediately the Spirit of the Lord revealed discrepancies in my life and in my ministry. It is those discrepancies I will address this morning, and the necessary changes that will affect everyone in this church.

 

First of all, I am requesting you no longer address me as Pastor Whoever. Lord Jesus alone is your Shepherd, and I understand the Bible to suggest no man should be called Pastor. You may call me Brother Whoever or simply Whoever, but no longer Pastor Whoever.

 

Also, I will no longer be on salary. The Lord showed me there is no Biblical precedent for a salary. You may support me through donations if you feel so moved. I am aware I will have to augment that support with part-time employment, and therefore  you will have to carry some of the church burdens.

 

Romans 2:11 states, “There is no partiality with God.” Since God shows no partiality to men neither should we. As of today we are all on equal ground. I do not want to be treated more special than anyone. I suggest we all financially and prayerfully support those who minister to us, weighing one’s need and value of service.

 

And no more tithing. Frankly, I never did believe in tithing, though I often implied that I did. This was a horrible compromise on my part. I have apologized to the Lord Jesus, and this morning I apologize to this assembly. Hereafter I will exhort you to commit your giving to the Holy Spirit. You will be much more fruitful if you do.

 

Also, I must be obedient to Ephesians, chapter four by allowing others to share this pulpit. Together we will determine how to best identify those in this assembly able and willing to preach. Hopefully, we will all learn to exalt the name of Jesus from this pulpit, always keeping our focus on Him.

 

Also, major decisions regarding Whatever Evangelical Assembly will be made corporately. When Paul wrote directions and corrections to the churches he addressed all the believers, not a chosen few. Obviously he considered everyone equally responsible. We must prayerfully seek the will of “the head of the church” on matters of concern. Only then will He be our Lord in fact, rather than symbolically.

 

I will be forwarding to denominational headquarters my intention to make these changes. Hopefully they will give me their blessing.

 

Does anyone really think the denominational bosses will respond favorably to Pastor Whoev…. oops!…. make that Brother Whoever? Can anyone realistically imagine such a response as…. ?

 

Dear Brother Whoever;

 

We so appreciate your keen insights on New Testament writings regarding Christ’s church, and your determination to lead Whatever Evangelical Assembly into fuller obedience to Him. Rest assured you have our unwavering support in your effort to honor our Lord Jesus Christ, the only true “head of the church”.

 

Yours in Christ,

 

The Regional District Board of Directors

 

Perhaps a response less challenging to your imagination would be something like this….

 

Dear Brother Whoever;

 

Thank you for sending us your intentions regarding Whatever Evangelical Assembly. We have forwarded your letter to national office, and they have assured us of their full support of our response to this crisis.

 

After much discussion among board members, please be informed we have terminated your position as pastor of Whatever Evangelical Assembly to be effective immediately, as you have violated the understanding and trust between you and us.

 

Please do not take this as a retaliatory rebuke; we are simply wanting to protect the local assembly (and also the entire denomination) from your extreme views. Further, as we suspect you may be in an advanced stage of burnout, we will immediately make arrangements for admittance into our Resident Recovery Home for pastors as soon as you indicate such a request.

 

We are sending a replacement pastor immediately. You are no longer welcome to speak to the assembly from the pulpit, and hopefully you will refrain from private conversations with members and adherents. With your cooperation and by God’s grace we will soon rectify all damage occurred.

 

May the Lord Jesus Christ be with you and your family during this strenuous transition.

 

Yours in Christ,

 

The Regional District Board of Directors

 

Brother Whoever will not only face opposition from his superiors, but also plenty of pew people. While some may be ecstatic at his proposed reforms, others – those most fervently converted to the way it is – will strenuously resist.

 

Perhaps this threatening backlash from both directions explains the lack of dissident pastors confronting the unholy evangelical system. Perhaps pastors considering serious reform have weighed the consequences and are unwilling to pay the pricey price. Very few of us have the blood of Martin Luther pumping through our veins – which is why evangelicalism is what it is.